Recently, due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, we at Yoga International have received a flood of questions from teachers and studios who are looking to create online streaming content at home. There are a lot of considerations that teachers need to think about—not just in how to create content, but also how to deliver that content to their students. As such, we have created this guide to help you learn some best practices for content creation at home. Below we explore the primary ways you can deliver your online classes to students, keep your students engaged, and earn revenue.
Four Ways to Deliver Yoga Classes to Your Students Online
1. Stream Your Content Using Facebook, Instagram Live, or Zoom
This is a good option if your main goal is to stay in contact with students regularly. Setup is relatively easy and you can upload content and livestream it from your phone or computer.
These content streaming platforms are becoming extremely crowded. It’s harder to stand out, and if you’re streaming on a social media platform, users can easily get distracted by all kinds of other things in their social feeds.
In addition, these platforms typically have limited ways to earn revenue. You might, for example, be able to arrange for payment on a student-by-student basis for a class you teach via a Zoom video meeting, but classes that you stream via social media platforms will be broadcast to anyone who can view your feed, which means you are giving your content away for free.
Remember, your content and your time are valuable. That doesn’t mean that you won’t want to livestream classes for free from time to time—after all, that’s a good way to give something to those who may not be able to afford to pay for classes right now and also to generate interest in your paid online offerings—but having a digital strategy that ensures teachers are compensated for their time and expertise is also important.
2. Build Your Own Platform (Using Services Such as Vimeo or Namastream)
This is a good option if you have the capacity to produce a lot of video content quickly (and in perpetuity). You can set your own price for your membership and earn 100 percent of the revenue.
You are starting from scratch building your own content platform. You are on your own in creating content, and you will also need to provide some or all of the user support as well. You also need to pay to access these services. All of the user value is created by your content alone, and in order to keep users engaged, you have to keep producing it on an ongoing basis or you can expect them to leave.
You are also in competition with larger online yoga companies that have more resources.
3. Create a YouTube Channel
YouTube is the largest video platform out there, and you can upload your content for free. It’s easy to use, and it’s a platform that many of your students are likely already familiar with. YouTube’s website is very reliable.
You must be in the YouTube Partner Program to start earning ad revenue. To join the YouTube Partner Program you must have more than 1,000 subscribers and more than 4,000 public watched hours in the past 12 months. You can't earn any money unless you hit those numbers (you split all ad revenue with YouTube 50/50). Ad revenue ebbs and flows throughout the year, which means the same amount of views in December can be worth ten times more than the same amount of views in January. There is no other way to monetize your videos, and you can't limit access to certain people easily. Typically ad payouts are very small unless you get lots of views.
Because YouTube is the largest video platform, having your videos become discoverable is difficult (500 hours of video are uploaded every minute!). Having a deep knowledge of SEO is vital to having your videos discovered.
Because all content on YouTube is free, if your students get used to taking your classes there it will be hard to move to a paid platform in the future.
4. Partner With Yoga International
This is a good option for those who want to produce content but also give students access to the thousands of other classes and teachers already on Yoga International. Less technical expertise is needed because the Yoga International team is there to help with video production tips and customer support. And less content creation is needed long term because YI regularly adds new content that users can engage with. More community functions will be coming soon, too, including additional ways to produce and sell your online content.
You do not set the membership price. You do not get 100 percent of the revenue (however, you do get ongoing monthly revenue in perpetuity of your referred users).
Though we wish YI partnership could be a perfect fit for everyone, we recognize that for some teachers one of the other options might be a better fit. We always welcome your questions and feedback about our partnership program, and we are here to support you!